“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.” —Oscar Wilde
What tie knot do you prefer? Well, really no matter, because you only need one (excepting the bow, of course). It is simple, the simplest, and it looks the best. You need the old school-boy tie: the four-in-hand.
A bit rakish in its elongated asymmetry, the four-in-hand brings to the ensemble that bit of irregularity that adds rather than subtracts. It is unnecessary to remember the arcana of twists and turns that separate the half-Windsor from the Windsor from the Shelby. The four-in-hand can be tied in seconds then forgotten with the confidence that all is well.
There is some confusion as to the four-in-hand’s origination. Some argue the knot goes back to carriage drivers who used it to hold the horses’ reins. Historical confidence of origin is lost, but it is the knot that the most elegant men have used for a century.
Ah, but I like to tie a symmetrical knot the size of my head, one that reaches halfway down my stomach, objects the partisan of the Windsor. And don’t I need to fill up all this space left by my spread collar? ‘Tis a myth. You don’t need to “fill up” any space regardless of the collar.
It is well to note that not even the eponymous Duke of Windsor used the Windsor knot or its fractional variants. His collateral descendant Prince Charles, perhaps the best dressed man in the world, would never consider a knot other than the four-in-hand.
Say goodbye to your double-mocha half-caff Windsor. Embrace the simplicity of the four-in-hand. Your life will be easier, and you’ll look better.
Watch Bernhard Roetzel, author of the fun book Gentlemen, teach you with a German accent how to tie a four-in-hand.
After you enjoy that, watch the folks from T.M. Lewin for clearer instruction with an English accent.